Global institutions news – Post date: July 8th, 2020.

WTO members underline importance of safe agri-food trade

At a recent meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, World Trade Organization members stressed the importance of providing a coordinated response to global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, including respecting international standards set by Codex Alimentarius and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and respecting the key principles of the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement (WTO News, 24 June). In particular, the increased use of electronic certification and existing electronic certification tools have been highlighted by many members; many WTO members had notified during the past weeks a permanent move to the IPPC e-Phyto solution for the transmission of phytosanitary certificates.

WTO secretariat highlighted the availability of all SPS-related Covid-19 documents and measures at a dedicated WTO page.

In total, WTO has received 175 Covid-19 related notifications, 40% submitted under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and 25% under the SPS Agreement. At the start of the period, most notifications contained trade restrictions and increased certification, including general communications and guidelines on the approval of SPS import clearance for meat commodities, and a request for the suspension of the process and entry into force of reductions of maximum residue levels (MRLs) for plant protection products. As of April 2020, most notifications are relating to trade facilitation.

STDF survey on public-private partnerships that strengthen support of SPS capacity

The Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) is looking for examples of public–private partnerships that are driving improvements in food safety, animal and plant health (SPS) in developing countries worldwide. STDF’s online survey runs until 31 August – share your stories and experiences of how public and private sector stakeholders are working together to facilitate safe trade. Survey case stories will be profiled across STDF’s global network.

Global Trade Helpdesk

A revamped Global Trade Helpdesk was released just ahead of the international day marking the importance of MSMEs (UNCTAD, 26 June). The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have developed the tool to help businesses trade better.

Through the Global Trade Helpdesk, MSMEs can easily access COVID-19-related trade information from various international agencies, including updates about temporary import and export restrictions. The platform also allows businesses to quickly get updated trade statistics and compare export potential estimations across different prospective target markets. It also offers updated information on import, export and transit trade procedures, a new business directory, resources to help protect intellectual property rights, and online tools from various agencies to help firms build their employees’ trade and market analysis skills.


The CGIAR COVID-19 Hub, launched on 23 June, provides a coordinated research response to the global pandemic threatening health systems worldwide, along with posing serious risks to food security; local businesses and national economies; and hard-fought progress by stakeholders at all levels towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Convening researchers, funders and key stakeholders, the Hub focuses on supporting national response and recovery work across CGIAR research themes, harnessing knowledge for emergency response, recovery and resilience. The Hub focuses on the four research pillars of CGIAR’s response to COVID-19:

  • food systems
  • One Health, recognizing the linkages between human, animal, and environmental health
  • inclusive public programmes for food security and nutrition
  • policies and investments for crisis response, economic recovery and improved future resilience.

IFPRI: Reflecting on the ‘2020 Vision Initiative’

Launched in 1993, IFPRI’s 2020 Vision Initiative set out to develop and promote a shared vision to eradicate hunger and malnutrition while protecting the environment and to catalyse global action. Marking the half-way point through an unexpected 2020, on 8 July IFPRI is holding a policy debate to reflect on the initiative’s achievements, and look forward to emerging challenges and opportunities for improving food security and nutrition, reducing poverty, and sustainably managing natural resources. The panel will be followed by several brief presentations on specific elements of the initiative, its impacts, and where progress is still needed, followed by closing remarks from IFPRI’s current director general.

Translate »